Railroad safety tips - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Railroad safety tips

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MARION -- All too often we have to report accidents and deaths involving trains versus cars. It often happens when drivers try to beat the train, and misjudge.

Illinois has more than 10,000 railway crossings. That's the second most in the state. Making it even more important for us here at home to know the rules. 

More than 50 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices such as crossing arms and flashing lights. But what we learned, is that those lights aren't stopping people and this can turn deadly.

"There is a high, high likelihood that a fatality versus just an injury will occur," said Illinois State Trooper Joey Watson.  

Last year alone, 24 people were killed at railroad crossings and nearly 80 were injured. A lot of those deaths were caused by distracted driving. 

"In about 25 percent of the train versus vehicle crashes, it's where the vehicle struck the side of the train," said Watson. 

Watson says that the force of a train hitting your car is the same as if your car were to run over a soda can. 

His advice is to heed the warnings. Never weave through the gates, make sure you're not distracted by your phone when driving across tracks and to always pay attention. 

Watson also said that drivers need to be stopping when the lights are flashing, not just when the crossing gates are down.

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